There’s a meme going around the internet of the utter joy someone with social anxiety feels when they learn that whatever plans they had are suddenly canceled. I can completely relate. Last night I attended a birthday dinner for a dear friend’s husband. Even though I would never miss an important occasion for someone I care about, I always feel a sense of relief when the decision is made for me and plans suddenly fall through. Over the years I have accepted this fact about myself, and I still manage to celebrate my friends and family and even enjoy hosting people in my home. I don’t think that my social anxiety is easily noticeable, but as you can imagine it does affect many normal things, like making the decision to go to a networking event where the objective is to make small talk with many different people.
If spend any length of time reading productivity, success and even self-help type of articles you will notice that they usually fail to mention just how much harder it might be to implement certain strategies if you happen to have anxiety or OCD just to name a few. I understand that it’s not feasible to tailor each article out there for every single person. Still, it does seem disingenuous to not consider the reality that for every Elon Musk, there are hundreds of thousands of other people with a unique set of circumstances where the prescribed ‘advice’ is not likely to really help much. I enjoy reading about the morning routines of famous people as much as the next person but they can read like an echo chamber where only the already moderately successful need apply. For that reason, I find that a lot of self-help is actually quite unrelatable to the average person trying to live their lives and make something of themselves at the same exact time. I know that my writing may not be perfect but one of the reasons I do it nonetheless is to bring a different perspective to this area. I am not at the top of the career ladder yet. I am building, still in school earning my PhD. I struggle with anxiety at times and do not profess to have it all figured it out yet. What I do know is what my values are, which I have slowly been uncovering the last few years, a period of rebuilding after experiencing burnout early on in graduate school.
What I have realized is that whatever productivity fad aside, if you are committed to living the kind of life that you would be proud of at the end of your days, you will thrive. It is the aimless wandering, sometimes made worse by physical or mental health conditions, toxic relationships, or just not giving yourself the kindness to accept that you deserve to live a healthy, happy life that holds you back. This is why I created the balanced living quiz, as a tool to get you thinking about what is important to you and whether you’re unintentionally sabotaging your happiness . Balance for me is about living in harmony with my core values and creating the kind of life that is filled with joy. Some days are going to be easier to do that than others especially when others are not on the same page as you. Nonetheless, if you are committed to balanced living, you will steer the rudder of your ship back in alignment faster than if you live haphazardly. It’s a beautiful thing when it happens, and I am proud to share my struggles and successes as well as hopefully play a small part in your journey. Cheers to smooth sailing ahead, you deserve it!
PS: I will be on vacation this weekend and in the spirit of taking my own advice, will be unplugging as much as possible. Look for a new post early next week. 🙂